Biocultural Heritage

Promoting resilient farming systems and local economies

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UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is mandated to advise other UN agencies on indigenous issues. It is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

The Forum explores policy issues and develops recommendations with the active participation of regional indigenous representatives as well as states, and an indigenous co-chair. It provides a Forum where indigenous peoples can report indigenous rights abuses, and reviews implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Forum holds two-week meetings every year in New York in April or May. It has also convened a number of technical workshops to explore key issues, including protection of traditional knowledge, free and prior informed Consent, and the CBD’s access and benefit-sharing protocol and indigenous rights.

The UNPFII Technical Workshop on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in Panama, 2005, recommended that: “the UNPFII should encourage the further elaboration of the concept of ‘collective bio-cultural heritage’ as the framework for standard setting activities on indigenous traditional knowledge.”

Further reading

Towards a holistic approach to indigenous knowledge protection: UN activities, Collective Biocultural Heritage and the UNPFII. IIED, ANDES and Call of the Earth (2006). Also in Spanish